Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Selling Season Follow-Up - November 8, 2014

Last week I gave some personal insight into how this time of year is my personal selling season. I was very surprised by the number of readers that contacted me and (laughing) agreed with my commentary on how weather impacts sales, especially in my backyard of Northeast Ohio. But, several people asked about the budget discussion with clients, as in how can they begin or open this conversation. So, this week as a follow-up, here are a few ideas on how to engage your client with the topic of remaining budget before December 31st hits.


For the seasoned sales veteran, you should already have a sense of how your client’s budgets are determined. For example, does your client run on a calendar year budget cycle? Do they have a use it or lose it policy? Do they have any special payment terms that would infringe on the idea of spending in short order? If you know the answers, it will make the initial phone call much easier.


If you are new to sales or new in a relationship with a client, the questions are the same, but you may need to set your client up with a series of preliminary conversations before making the ask. Talk to the client and engage in conversation regarding how they are planning for next year. While in discussion, slip the previous questions I mentioned into the conversation, and make sure to note when and how budgets are determined for the following year.


And then it is time to ask. The ask must be done live either by telephone or face-to-face. The ask is about sincerity. It is about wanting your client to know that you would like to help them spend their remaining budget, but that it is to help them not you. The ask is about gaining the trust of the client by wanting to help them achieve their goals before the end of the year which will lessen the spending burden in the coming year. And most importantly, when you engage in the ask, you must be willing to drop the subject quickly if the client does not want to discuss it any further.


The end of the year ask is not about a pressure sale. It is not about quotas. And most importantly, it is not about you. It is about wanting to help your client. Sincerity when asking about remaining budget being spent with you will be the win or the loss. It is entirely in your hands.

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